Infant Nasal Congestion Treatment

Nasal congestion is common in an infant under six months of age. Although rarely serious, it can cause problems by interfering with feeding and sleeping. It is common for a newborn to be congested for the first four to six weeks of life. After that, congestion is often caused by irritants, such as dust or smoke. Congestion can also be caused by a cold or allergies. Here are some things that you can do to help relieve your baby’s nasal congestion.

Saline Drops

Saline drops can be used as needed before feeding or sleeping. Just spray a few drops into each nostril. The drops will help flush out irritants and loosen the mucus so that it can be swallowed.

Bulb Syringe

You can use a bulb syringe to suction out the nose, but this is not necessary. In fact, using a bulb syringe too often or too vigorously can cause more irritation and actually increase the congestion.

Elevating the Head

Elevating your baby’s head will help the mucus drain better and offer a better night’s sleep. To elevate your infant’s head, place a pillow under the mattress so that one side is higher than the other. Do not put the pillow directly under your baby’s head, because a pillow in the crib can lead to SIDS and suffocation.


A cool mist vaporizer or a humidifier can be helpful in treating infant nasal congestion by loosening the mucus. Both of these machines add humidity to dry air. The vaporizer may have a place to put medicine, but this is not necessary.


Do not give over-the-counter cough and cold medicines to an infant. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recommend them for any child under the age of six. Also, never stick a cotton swab into your infant’s nose to try to clear out the mucus.

Nasal congestion is common in an infant under six months of age. Although rarely serious